Alone for the Holidays and Other Thoughts

I know I haven’t written anything in quite some time. The reasons are the same as they usually are, no motivation and no real sense that I had anything worthwhile to say. Today, I feel like I do have something worth saying and I actually feel motivated to say it. But you probably figured that out based on the fact that this entry is here for you to read in the first place. Notice that I said I had something I felt was worth saying, I make no promises that you will find it worth reading though it is my hope that you do.

I have been alone a lot over the past week or so. This is because I have been sick since last Wednesday. I was actually planning to spend last Friday night with some friends but had to bail out due to not feeling well. Plus, I would have felt bad had I gone and one of them caught whatever it is that is currently ravaging my body. I was hoping it would be gone before the Christmas holiday, I even posted on Facebook on Sunday that I felt there was a good chance I would be better on Christmas day. I was wrong.
I was invited to go to church and have dinner with my brother and his wife on Christmas Eve and that’s what my mom ended up doing because she picked up a Christmas night shift at work. I just wasn’t feeling good enough to be there myself and as I said before I didn’t want anyone to catch whatever I’m carrying.
I had invited a friend over for movies and chili on Christmas day. Those plans also had to be canceled for the same reason and it turns out he came down with something as well. So from last Wednesday to now, I have been by myself. The only interruptions I have had were the couple of times my mom stopped over to check on me and bring me things that I needed, such as more medication.

Spending so much time alone this last week when I really didn’t want to be gave me a chance to reflect on my solitary existance. The truth is that I am alone quite a bit of the time. I live alone. I prefer to work by myself and on my own projects. I am alone so much that there are activities that I do not want to do alone because I want them to feel different. I don’t enjoy going shopping alone. I really have no desire to go to the movies by myself or even out to eat. I could, if necessary do any of those things alone but I’d rather do them with someone else as a change of pace from my normal condition.

But despite how much time I spend alone, I don’t really consider myself to be anti-social. I would have gone to any of the activities above, would have done them all in fact, had I not been sick this week. I have in the past few months or so made more of an effort to go to the homes of friends instead of having everything take place in my apartment. This is something I had been thinking about doing for awhile and just decided to go for it and it has worked out well for me. I’m still with the same people but it isn’t always in the same place. I even took a road trip to Sioux Falls earlier this month which is something I haven’t done since April of 2017 although not for lack of desire.
I have written a lot over the years about my quest to find romance and will touch on that a bit further down. But even beyond that, there are a lot of times where I think it would be fund to have a roommate.

But given everything I have said up to now, the truth is that I am very used to being alone. I think that is what helped me get through this week. One of the themes of Christmas is that it is a time of being together with friends and family. That is something I certainly enjoy about the holiday but this year it did not happen for me. However, I can honestly say that I ended up having as Merry a Christmas as I could given the situation. I knew that it was going to be an uphill battle but I made a decision to try to keep a positive attitude and to do as much as I could to enjoy the holiday.
So to make sure I wasn’t completely isolated, I made as much of an effort as I could to be interactive on Facebook. I left comments on posts wishing people a Merry Christmas even if I hadn’t talked to them in awhile. I also posted about the Christmas movies and TV episodes that I watched on Christmas Eve. I even had my usual fun of following NORAD tracks Santa. I enjoy doing that because it gives me a sense of world geography.
Was it the Christmas I had hoped for or the Christmas that I wanted? In fact, it was the complete oposite of what I was hoping for and what I wanted. But it wasn’t a bad Christmas. It wasn’t a depressing Christmas. It didn’t feel like just any other Tuesday either, it did feel like a special day because I put in the effort to make it so. Really it was Christmas Eve that felt the most festive because I spent a lot of Christmas day asleep in bed.

As I said, I am used to being alone and that worked in my favor this week. But I fear I might be too used to being alone. If you look back at my romantic history, one of the reasons I have had trouble making relationships work is that it has sometimes been hard for me to fit people into my life. Especially if those people weren’t close by. I can go for long stretches of time without talking to someone simply because I don’t think I have anything to say to them. I am not much for random chit-chat although I do have my moments. Earlier this year, I had a couple of days where I was feeling very chatty and went looking for conversations. That ended up backfiring on me because several of those conversations ended up making me feel pretty bad about myself though not intentionally. I can be pulled into conversation a lot easier than I can start one up.
This is not an ideal trait in cultivating any relationship particularly a romantic one. Not talking to your significant other for days or weeks at a time doesn’t really work. If you end up with someone who does act the same way as you in that regard, that makes it worse because you can go for weeks or months without any interaction. That’s more true in long-distance relationships and is one of the reasons I’m not so fond of those any more but it has happened with me and someone who lives just blocks from where I do.

It was actually a problem for me earlier this year. I was dating someone over the summer for about a month and it was actually very hard for me to let this person into my life. There were a lot of reasons for that and it was a two way street. However, looking back one of the biggest things was that I just didn’t want to make the effort to alter my life all that much. I didn’t really think that relationship was going to work and I was right and that was a huge factor but there was a part of me that was just too used to being by myself and responsible only for myself. That I think is the biggest thing I need to address in my life going forward, especially if I want to make changes.

This all brings me back to my New Year’s Resolution for 2018. I resolved to either not be single by the end of the year or to have found away to be content with being single. There are only a few days left in the year and I don’t see a new relationship starting in that time. So that brings me to the question of whether or not I am content to be single. At the beginning of the year, my answer was definitely no. But what about right now?
I can’t say that the answer is yes, however, it is definitely not no. I guess I will say that I am at a stage of temporary contentment. This isn’t a place I want to be forever but it is probably a good place to be right now. I have come to understand better than I did before that no relationship is better than a relationship that won’t work.
I also have a clearer understanding of some things I would like to work on as an individual. I want to be better at including people and fitting them into my life. I don’t want to keep people at greater than arms length just because I’m comfortable doing so. These are things that I can do without having to put a potential romantic partner in a less than desirable position. So I am going to call my new year’s resolution a mild success.

I think the biggest thing I have taken away from this past week and how I approached Christmas is the biggest thing I’ve taken away from 2018. Attitude can make all of the difference. I struggle with depression and that is always going to be true. But this year, I have made more of an effort to make the best of situations that come up. I learned this by watching a friend who struggles with the same issue. He’ll write a Facebook post on the first of a month talking about which that month is going to suck or about all of the things he’s not looking forward to and then he’ll have a bad month.
I decided that I will acknowledge all of the reasons something could be bad and then do what I can to make the best of it. I have a rough time with the fall and winter months. But when fall drew closer and closer I made a real effort to say that I was going to try and get passed it and for the most part I ended up handling the transition to fall pretty well. I’m not going to say I went the whole season without being depressed but I wasn’t specifically depressed because it was the fall season. At a certain point I had to acknowledge that I was probably going to be both sick and alone on Christmas, so what can I do about it? I made a plan and stuck to it. It wasn’t my first choice but it was an acceptable choice and right now, in many areas of my life I am okay with the acceptable choice.

I wasn’t intending for this post to be my year in review entry but as I got further into writing it, I realized I could kill two birds with one stone. I will probably release a post looking back at my year in Audiobooks sometime early in the new year. But, if this is indeed the last thing I write for calendar year 2018, I want to thank you all for reading this and wish you a safe and happy new year. I am going to try and spend new year’s eve with friends as I try to do every year but if something happens and I can’t, I will look for an acceptable alternative.